Maximizing the Impact of OJT

Not too long ago we were asked the following question:

Q: “What can trainers do to make on-the-job training effective?”

We thought other people might be interested in the response Michael Nolan, President of FKA, provided.

A: The number one component of success with on-the-job training (OJT) is careful planning. It ensures that content and competencies are consistent across all learners.

OJT trainers should have a complete understanding of the required skill and knowledge, and their employer’s standard operating procedures related to it. Although OJT tends not to be as formal as face-to-face or virtual training, it still should be structured—to ensure that the same material is presented no matter who is conducting the training and who is receiving it. We always recommend creating written learner and trainer’s guides, which include key information on the topic and standard questions to ask all learners.

As with other types of training, OJT trainers should look at OJT from the learners’ perspective—breaking down information into “digestible pieces,” helping learners understand how the content is relevant to their job, and building on their individual experiences and skillsets.

Probably the number one challenge to OJT success is not knowing the learner. Instead of making assumptions, OJT trainers should ask questions to assess learners’ knowledge on the topic. If we make the assumption that a person knows something and they don’t, we might skip important information. Conversely, if we make an assumption that learners don’t know it and they do, learners are going to be bored and lose focus and may even lose faith in the trainer.

Another challenge is making sure that each learner is engaged in the OJT program, especially when multiple learners are being trained simultaneously and they have different skillsets. We must make sure all learners are involved in the learning, not just some of them – everybody need to be engaged. For example, when working with a few learners with different experience levels, the OJT trainer could pose challenging questions to those who have a good grasp of the topic and more basic questions to those who are struggling with the content.

Below is a checklist to help you decide if OJT is the best choice:

OJT Decision Table

Want more information about maximizing the impact of your OJT?

Contact us about our On the Job Training: Design and Delivery or Instructional Techniques for OJT programs. Also, Michael will be presenting a break-out session at Training 2018 called Instructional Techniques for OJT.

Other questions?

Got any questions you want us to answer? Please e-mail gnolan@fka.com with them and we’ll get back to you. We’ll publish any that might be of general interest.



Geoff Nolan
Director of Marketing and Public Workshops


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